Press Release
February 19, 2010

No one gets left behind in war vs poverty - Villar

As soldiers often say in the heat of battle, Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Manny Villar vowed to "leave no one behind" in his bid to stamp out poverty in the country.

"The next president must make sure that economic growth redounds to the benefit of the poor. I believe that any growth must be inclusive, that no one is left behind when the economy improves," Villar said.

The NP standard-bearer said the findings of three international development agencies - the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and the UN Development Program (UNDP) - on the poverty problem in the Philippines should be a wake-up call for the national leadership.

The three agencies said the Philippines was "off-track" in meeting key commitments under the UN-sponsored Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in Asia.

The ADB and ESCAP cited in the report that the Philippines has to make economic growth trickle down to the poor in order to meet its MDGs on poverty reduction. The agencies stressed that progress should be felt in both urban and rural areas.

"We should ensure that the poor would directly feel the country's economic progress. Oftentimes, the government harps about growth statistics and yet many Filipinos still suffer from extreme poverty and experience hunger," said Villar, whose platform is centered on poverty alleviation.

Villar earlier told a forum sponsored by of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry that "it is not enough for us just to grow (the economy) fast, but it is important that our people will feel the effects of high economic growth."

He is batting for an entrepreneurial revolution, improvement in tax collection, revival of the agriculture sector, and promotion of labor-intensive industries among others as key engines to economic growth.

"If we were to address the root causes of poverty, we have to put in place economic reforms that would result to immediate and direct positive difference in the lives of the poor. Dapat malapit sa bituka ng mga tao lalong-lalo na doon sa mga walang maihain sa hapag-kainan nila. Walang pakialam ang mga ito sa mga statistics or figures, gusto nila actual results," Villar said.

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